It’s a Pawty – A Dog’s Birthday Party

Dog-birthday-party-theme-puppy

What happens when you love your dogs and you love entertaining?  Chances are, you’ve thought about having a dog birthday party, right?  This year, Emmie turned 2 and now that she has her very own fenced in backyard, a party was a must!  Inspired by Pinterest (the easiest place for inspirations!), Emmie’s “all things dog” theme was created! Since the idea was to keep the dogs outside, the party began at 9AM <— yes, a party starting at 9AM!

Dog-birthday-party-theme-cake-bone-ideasDog Bone Shaped Cake:

Who knew a little geometry would come in handy while baking a cake!!  One of my favorite types of cake (from a box) is funfetti. Hands down. Something about the vanilla cake and sprinkles combo makes a great taste and reminds me of when I was a kid. I didn’t go fancy on this one at all. Simple cake mix and frosting, follow the instructions and bake. Once the 1 rectangular cake pan and the 3 circle cake pans were done, the fun began to create this dog bone shaped cake. You will cut out 1/4 of each of the circles so you can use the 3 1/4 pieces to make the 4th part of the bone. 🙂 A birthday wasn’t complete without us singing, yes singing, to Emmie and then indulging in a cake (and mimosas!).

Dog-birthday-party-mimosas-parfait-themeBest in Show Bubbly:

A make-your-own-mimosas bar. Need I say more?! I usually buy Andre Brut for my mimosa champagne but I recently learned about freixenet – a few dollars more, but so worth it. Maybe not for the masses when you can buy Andre, but definitely a must for a small gathering.

Pupcakes Dog-birthday-party-pupcakes-peanut-butter-apples

These peanut butter apple cupcakes were made specifically with dogs in mind.  They were a huge it hit!  You can find the recipe for pupcakes here.  The frosting is made of  greek yogurt and peanut butter and topped with homemade dog biscuits (recipe). These were a HUGE hit!

Doggie Bag: treats-to-go

Who doesn’t love going to a party and taking something home?  Well when you go to my dog’s party, you will end up taking home a doggie bag of treats for your fur baby! These are the same treats that I topped the pupcakes with and the recipe is here.  Made of oatmeal, carrots, and cheese, these things are healthy and the dogs ate them up!

Dog-birthday-party-biscuits-cheese-carrots-oats

Snacks

I made “fetch sticks” out of overnight French toast and strawberries on a kebab stick.  Topped with maple syrup and powdered sugar, these were so yummy.  I made pigs dogs-in-a-blanket from crescent rolls and mini sausage links.  I had extra rolls so I filled these with nutella and they were actually pretty good!  To make the snack spread somewhat healthy, a parfait bar was a must!

Dog-birthday-party-theme-fetch-sticks-ideas

Emmie’s party was such a great success but the afternoon was even better!  As soon as I was done cleaning everything up outside, the thunderstorms came down hard (talk about perfect timing!)!  The dogs slept for hours and I even fit a little nap in the day. 🙂

Happy 2nd birthday, Emmie!

Dog-birthday-party-theme-ideas

 

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Groundhog Day?!

“Well, it’s Groundhog Day… again…”
-Phil Connors

Have you ever felt the way Phil Connors (Bill Murray) feels in the movie Groundhog Day?  He relives the same day over and over until he re-examines his life and priorities.   Aside from the fact that this movie is full of truth, it is hilarious.   I laugh so hard every time I see it!

cpa-study-unf-day1I had my own Groundhog Day experience today.  I was at the UNF library for the second day in a row, sitting in the same room, drinking my grande skinny vanilla latte (hello grande!  I usually get a tall so I’m bouncing off the walls right now) and studying for 3 hours for the CPA exam…  All what seemed to be an exact repeat of yesterday!  I couldn’t help but laugh a little (in the “quite” room!) and think about the movie.  Then I laughed (again in the quite room – alumni can break the rules, right?!) at the thought of school and reflecting on all the fun times I had at UNF, the friends I made and how glad I am to be done with that chapter in my life!  Now I have a new chapter, the CPA exam, that is consuming every ounce of me!!  Way.worse.than.school.ever.was.

cpa-study-unf-day2I take the BEC section of the CPA exam this Friday morning and I would be lying if I told you I’m not nervous.  I’m freaking out!!  I’m super nervous and anxious (<— could be the large amount of coffee I’ve consumed this week!) but will be so glad once this test is over.

To break the monotony of this routine, I decided a cupcake break at Sweet by Holly was a must!  I also had a card for a FREE cupcake that I’ve been saving for a rainy day.  It rained yesterday so, you know, excuse to redeem!

This was my first time trying the Nutella Cupcake and it was delicious!!  Nutella, cinnamon and buttercream. Need I say more?!

Sweet-by-holly-Nutella-mini

I also came across this ebib on ilovetorun.org and I thought, “spot on!  Sums it all up!” My favorite is #2 – I’m always drinking water!  I feel like a camel some days and my co-workers probably think I have a water drinking problem!  (I might!)

runner-bib

Now back to the books for the final 24 hours of cramming until test time!!  I’m dreaming of a lovely glass of wine followed by sleeping in late and not logging into Becker for just one day… well a girl can dream!

Sweet-by-holly-nutella

xoxo

 

 

Catch up and bake – Carrot Cake Cupcakes!

carrot-cake-coverWell hello, friends!  Many of you have emailed me about my whereabouts and thank you!  I’m here and hope to blog more often very soon. 🙂 Remember that little thing horrible-stressful-welcome-to-my-new-life-thing called the CPA exam I told you about awhile ago?  Well it has consumed my life and it paid off because I PASSED the first one!

That’s right, I passed!  Good thing is I’m 25% done, bad thing is that the clock starts ticking for when I have to pass the other 3!  I’ve been so focused on studying I haven’t done much of anything else… my days consist of going to work, studying on my lunch break, coming home and cranking out a few hours each night if possible.  Right now I’m studying for the Business section, BEC.  My exam is April 18th and I’m not stressed (well right now, at this moment anyway… don’t ask me tomorrow) because for the first time in this exam of my life, I’m caught up!

So what does one do when finally caught up on the work and it is an absolutely beautiful day?!  Play outside of course!  After finishing studying this morning, doing laundry, cleaning the house, walking the dog and going grocery shopping (man, being a grown up is rough!), I took a trip down to St. Augustine to hang out with a good friend and got to bring Emmie along for the ride!  To recap how much fun we had, I give you a few pictures…

emmie-car-ride

The top picture was on the way down to St. Augustine.  Emmie was so excited and curious.  The car ride home was, well you can see what happened!

When I got home I was having a hankering for baking.  I didn’t really care too much for eating the cupcakes (note: there has been NO mention of working on yet – yikes!) I just wanted to bake something!  I realized I haven’t posted a recipe for carrot cake, so guess what, carrot cake was the winner!  (If you’re interested in a slimmed down version, check out my Weight Watchers Carrot Cake Recipe)

The “you can save that recipe” Carrot Cake Cupcakes

carrot-cake-wetIngredients:

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/4 cup vegetable oil or canola (I used extra virgin olive oil because I had that)
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups cake flour
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground clove
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 3 cups finely chopped carrots

 

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

Chop up the carrots.  I bought the matchstick carrots and tossed them in my food processor.  The most efficient way to get this done!

carrot-cake-carrots

Mix the sugar, oil and eggs in a large mixer.

carrot-cake-mix

In a separate bowl, whisk remaining dry ingredients and then add to the wet mixture.  I think this is the key to the best carrot cake… it’s all about the spices.  the blend of cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves and make or break the taste!

carrot-cake-dry

Fold in the carrots and fill cupcake tins 3/4 full.  I used the jumbo sized tins and baked for about 30 minutes.  Adjust time as needed.

Frosting:  Cream Cheese frosting is probably my favorite frosting.  4 simple ingredients (butter, vanilla, cream cheese and confectioner’s sugar) combine perfectly!  Or can combine perfectly! I’ve had some not-so-perfect cream cheese frosting and appreciate the good ones even more!  You can find my frosting recipe on my blog post about red velvet cupcakes.

carrot-cake-frostingI chopped up pecans and added them as a garnish.  Enjoying my one (yeah, I only baked one of them tonight!) cupcake, while drinking hot tea (my new night time regime) and watching The Walking Dead season finale (my not-so-new Sunday night regime) was definitely the perfect end to a perfect day!

Being caught up, even if it is for only one day, is such an amazing feeling and I can’t wait until April 18!!  Well actually, I can.  I’m not completely prepared yet and have a lot more studying to do before then.  But when it does get here, expect more recipes and adventures! 🙂

If you were completely caught up with your stuff, how would you spend your day?

Bon Appetite!